By Tonda Rush, NNA General Counsel
National Newspaper Association President Matt Adelman, publisher of the Douglas (Wyoming) Budget, today recognized the work of the House Natural Resources Committee for approving the first stages of work for a Fallen Journalists Memorial.
The Committee completed its review of a bill authorizing the use of federal lands for the memorial. The legislation, HR 3465, will head to the House of Representatives floor for a vote at the call of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The memorial would be designed to call attention to journalists who lost their lives during or because of the pursuit of the news. It will reach back into history to the sacrifices of World War II journalist Ernie Pyle and those who went before him and forward to more modern casualties.
The idea for a memorial grew from the anniversary of the deaths of five employees of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, who were gunned down by a disgruntled reader in 2018.
The memorial is intended to be funded privately. But for it to be placed in the District of Columbia and its environs, authorization by Congress is required. A companion bill in the Senate, S 1969, awaits action by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
“This memorial is necessary and timely,” Adelman said. “We live in an era when the value of news gathering itself is somewhat under fire. Domestically, we knit the nation together. Abroad, American armed forces deployments require journalists to work alongside to tell the stories of our military missions. We need to remind ourselves and future generations that recording these first drafts of history sometimes requires journalists to give their all.”